By Jeremy Balan
Behind a two-RBI triple from senior third baseman Nick Allen, Lowell High School battled back from an early deficit to defeat Washington High School 5-3 in AAA play on Wednesday at Big Rec.
Down 3-2 in the sixth inning, Allen’s drive into the left-field gap drove in the tying and go ahead runs.
“In my first at bat I took some pitches and it got me really comfortable at the plate,” Allen said. “Then, in the second at bat, I went down 0-2, fought a couple of pitches off and that’s when I got the hit. I felt like I was seeing it well.”
Allen then came in to score on an RBI single from senior Nate Gilchrist in the next at bat to cap the Cardinals’ (15-5, 9-0) scoring.
“We got a couple of really timely hits,” said Lowell Head Coach John Donohue. “Allen hit a blast.”
Washington (15-5, 8-1) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead behind an RBI double from senior center fielder Walter James.
James followed up his first hit with a triple to deep center field in the fifth inning, but didn’t get an opportunity to strike again in the game’s most crucial moment.
James stepped up to the plate in the seventh inning, representing the go-ahead run with runners on second and third and two outs, but Lowell decided to load the bases with an intentional walk.
Although the move was unpopular with Washington’s fans, it ultimately paid off, as junior catcher Alex Kozakiewicz grounded out to end the game.
“We had a chance late,” said Washington Head Coach Rob Fung. “We would have liked to see [James] come up a third time, but they decided to walk him. We left it up to our four hitter and that’s not a bad guy to have up. We always expect a good game from them, but they were better than us today.”
Although Lowell senior starting pitcher Sam Mallonee allowed three early runs, he settled in after the third inning, shutting the Eagles out in his final 3 1/3 innings, including a six-pitch sixth inning. Mallonee struck out four over 6 1/3 innings to secure the win.
“I just kept pitching and the offense came back,” Mallonee said. “All I can do is keep pitching hard.”
Washington senior starting pitcher Jumaane Bowdry scattered early Lowell hits without any damage, shutting the Cardinals out through the first three innings, until a two-out, two-RBI single from Michael Inouye broke up the shutout in the fourth to bring the Cardinals within one.
“If [Bowdry] made a few better pitches, it might have been a different game,” Fung said. “But he left the ball up and if you make a mistake against those guys, they’re going to take advantage of it, and they sure did.”
Both teams came in undefeated in AAA play, but with the win, Lowell sits alone atop the AAA’s A Division.
“Every game is important, but these games, especially because of the rivalry, are really big,” Allen said. “They are our top competitor and if we can beat them twice, I feel like we have a pretty good shot the rest of the way.”
The two teams will face off again today at Big Rec.
“They can come get us tomorrow, so I’m still concerned,” Donohue said. “If we can be a couple [games] ahead of them, that helps for playoffs.”